“A MATTER OF PRIORITY”
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
Among the many things that Jesus taught in His sermon on the mount, He taught His disciples that His kingdom must have priority in their lives. From our earliest existence, many of us have heard similar words from parents and peers, “you need to go to church”. Until we understand these words of Christ, the reasons for such counsel have seemed vague and obscure. So, many of us first began to attend church out of a sense of duty, rather than for the blessings that were found therein. Allow me a few sentences to expand upon our Lord’s counsel and encourage you to His house.
First, let me say that the Lord and His Church should have priority in our lives above all other things. “All these things”, food, clothing and whatever trappings the paycheck may bring, should come somewhere in the back of the throng. Yet, where do we find “these things” in the minds of most people. “Things” come first and the Lord and His house come last. People want things, they pray for things, they hope for things and as we see from these actions, it is the things they are really worshiping.
Did you notice who Jesus was talking to? He was not talking to people who were ignorant of Christ or His house. This speaks volumes about what can happen to disciples of Christ. They can become sidetracked and distracted seeking after “things”. How subtle are Satan’s devices in these areas. Consider Solomon. He was a man who loved God, a zealous man who built a beautiful temple to worship in. The Lord blessed him with wisdom and riches beyond comparison. It was the “things” that got the best of him. To many things, to many opportunities to be away from worship, too many toys and beautiful people and he finds depression and everything under the sun as “vanity and vexation of the spirit”. “Seek ye first” is more than a commandment, it is more than good advice, it is spiritual counsel with a promise couched within that the Lord who does not lie will faithfully keep.
The reasons for our Lord’s promise are numerous. First, our Lord is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”(Hebrews 11:6). This does not agree with the “name it claim it”idea we hear from the false prophet. The reward, or blessing, is based upon our needs, not our wants. Would you rather be seeking “things” on your own or be looking to the faithful provider of the sheep? He knows best what our needs are before we ask or seek them. He knows what will destroy us and what will bless us. We are to seek, He will add.
The next reason is that God’s counsel, good counsel for living is found in His kingdom. Martyn Loyd Jones, one of the great preachers of the last century was first a medical doctor. He found that many of the problems that his patients encountered were the result of a spiritual problem. He said that he had found that people who attended a church were the bible was preached needed less counsel than those who did not attend because they were receiving Godly counsel and advice in the sermons they listened to. They learned about marriage, raising children, responsibilities at work among others. As the psalmist hath said, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.”
This brings us to the next reason, which is knowledge. Knowledge of God’s view of the world, of sin, of Satan and his devices are found here. The “ground and pillar of the truth” will always stand in opposition to worldly advice.
Finally, great fellowship if found here. Fellowship with the right kind of people who set godly examples before us on a daily basis. Christians are not perfect, yet, look the world over if you will and show me a kinder and gentler people. As Jesus said, you will “sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven”.
Some have made some very appealing reasons for negating this promise and using the Sabbath day for recreation. Some say they are strengthening their family and marriage. They have become wiser than the wisest who gave this information. We see more broken homes and marriages today from all of this activity than a former day when families went to church together. What can strengthen a family or a marriage more than the Lord and His house? Surely, there is nothing wrong with seeking other things and enjoying all of the above with family and friends. It is a matter of priority: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”